Blow to students and parents as Burnley sixth form set to close

Thomas Whitham Sixth Form
Thomas Whitham Sixth Form

Lancashire County Council's Cabinet has agreed to issue a statutory notice of its proposal to close Thomas Whitham Sixth Form in Burnley.

Once the statutory notice has been published, there will be a five-week period during which representations can be made.

If the proposal goes ahead the sixth form in Barden Lane would close with effect from August 31st 2020.

County Coun. Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: "I'd like to reassure everyone that all the views we received during the consultation were considered very carefully, before the decision was taken to move to the next stage of the process.

"Unfortunately, we have to acknowledge the reality that the school is no longer financially viable with such low student numbers.

"Despite the robust efforts that the school has made for several years now to attract more students, supported by the county council, low student numbers have continued, particularly since 2016/17.

"The problem is that schools with falling rolls have reducing budgets which can cause issues including reduced subject options.

"We share the concern of the school governing body about this situation, and now agree that we have no other option."

Students in their final year of study will not be affected as they will have taken their exams and already left the school.

Students who are part way through their studies will be supported to find an appropriate course with an alternative provider.

An initial consultation with the local community ran from September 16th until November 1st 2019.

A consultation event, attended by education officers from the county council, was also held to give parents, staff and other interested parties the chance to ask questions and express their views.

The final decision will be taken about the proposal in May 2020.